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Fresh row at City Hall as MCA raises red flag on inflated legal fees

City Hall legal department has come under fire for paying exorbitant legal fees to certain lawyers and firms representing the county.

This comes after Makongeni Ward MCA Peter Imwatok claimed that the county’s legal department has been procuring the services of multiple lawyers to handle even small cases and in return paying them exorbitant fees running into millions of shillings.

Mr Imwatok alleges that some two law firms: Musyoki Mogaka & Company Advocates and J. Harrison Kinyanjui & Company, were paid in excess of Sh35 million each in legal fees for representing the county in the AAR medical insurance case, which lasted less than 30 minutes.

“We are raising the red flag because the lawyers stood there for less than 15 minutes each but they raised exorbitant fees of Sh35 million and Sh45 million for a preliminary and not a full case and the county was ready to flag off the payments before the collapse of the financial year,” said Mr Imwatok on Sunday.

On Thursday before the Assembly, Mr Imwatok put to task chairperson of the sectoral committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Mr Jayendra Malde to present a statement regarding the payment of legal fees to various lawyers involved in the county’s litigation this year.


He claimed that the law firms charge exorbitant fees which would have gone a long way in providing public services, citing the recent anti corruption case involving irregularities in procurement of medical insurance by AAR where he took the county to court but eventually lost the case, as an example.

“The county’s legal fees malaise is well known, and the rot in the sector well established. A dangerous trend is creeping back where private lawyers connive to have litigation matters, even the lightest, issued to upwards of seven law firms or lawyers,” he said before the House.

The minority whip asked Mr Malde to inquire into and report on the amounts paid or due for payment to the lawyers who litigated for the county in the AAR case, particularly Musyoki Mogaka & Company Advocates and J. Harrison Kinyanjui & Company.

He also wanted to know who authorized the use of many lawyers in the matter and how many other county involved cases have had multiple counsels and their costs.

“Why does the county continue engaging costly private lawyers when it has a fully-fledged legal department?” he posed.


However, County Attorney Ms Lydia Kwamboka has dismissed the Makongeni MCA allegations saying that the county has not paid the lawyers or the law firms as they have not even brought their fee note to the legal department although she acknowledged that the two firms represented the county in the AAR case.

“That is not true. They have not been paid. If they were paid, he should show you evidence of the same. The accusations are baseless,” said Ms Kwamboka.

In the 2018/2019 financial year budget, Sh196.8 million has been allocated towards the management of legal affairs in the county.

This is more than the money allocated for an entire department of Agriculture, Livestock development, Fisheries and Forestry which has only been given Sh149 million for an entire year.

Moreover, the allocation also exceeds that for prevention and promotion of health services in the county which has been given Sh8 million, and that for ICT Infrastructure development which stands at Sh180 million.